The autumnal tints have not been so bright as usual this year, but why it is hard to say. The summer has been peculiarly cool, as well as wet, and it may be that the leaves have been the more inclined to decay before coming to maturity. Also, apparently, many leaves are killed by the mere frosts before ripening, the locust for instance, —and the frost came early this year, —just as melons and squashes before they have turned yellow; i.e., the leaves fall while they are still green.
The witch hazel here is in full blossom on this magical hill-side—while its broad yellow leaves are falling—some bushes are completely bare of leaves, and leather-colored they strew the ground. It is an extremely interesting plant—October & November’s child—and yet reminds me of the very earliest spring— Its blossoms smell like the spring—like the willow catkins—by their color as well as fragrance they belong to the saffron dawn of the year.— Suggesting amid all these signs of Autumn—falling leaves & frost—that the life of nature—by which she eternally flourishes, is untouched.
It stands here in the shadow on the side of the hill while the sunlight from over the top of the hill lights up its topmost sprays & yellow blossoms. Its spray so jointed and angular is not to be mistaken for any other. I lie on my back with joy under its boughs. While its leaves fall—its blossoms spring. The autumn then is indeed a spring. All the year is a spring. I see two blackbirds high over head going south, but I am going north in my thoughts with these hazel blossoms.
It has come to this, — that the lover of art is one, and the lover of nature another, though true art is but the expression of our love of nature. It is monstrous when one cares but little about trees but much about Corinthian columns, and yet this is exceedingly common.
When I turn round halfway up Fair Haven Hill, by the orchard wall, and look northwest, I am surprised for the thousandth time by the beauty of the landscape and sit down to behold it in my leisure…..
I do not know how to entertain those who cannot take long walks….I give up my forenoon to them, and get along pretty well, the very elasticity of the air and promise of the day abetting me, but they are as heavy as dumplings by mid-afternoon. If they can’t walk, why won’t they take an honest nap in the afternoon and let me go?
There is not now that profusion, and consequent confusion, of events which belongs to a summer walk. There are few flowers, birds, insects, or fruits now, and hence what does occur affects us as more simple and significant, as the cawing of a crow or the scream of a jay. The latter seems to scream more fitly and with more freedom through the vacancies occasioned by fallen maple leaves.
Surveying in Lincoln. A severer frost last night. The young & tender trees begin to assume the autumnal tints more generally—plainly in consequence of the frost the last 2 mornings. The sides of the bushy hills present a rich variety of colors like rug work—but the forest generally is not yet changed.